These cookies are so good and most people will never know they have bacon in them. In my mind the whole wheat flour adds great flavor but also good nutrition. Bacon cookies are health food!
Chocolate Chip Candied Bacon Cookies
1 # thick-cut bacon, preferably black forest cured bacon
2 c dark brown sugar, divided
1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur)
1/2 c AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick or 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened (best to leave out overnight)
1/2 c shortening (try to use trans-fat shortening, it lessens the guilt)
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 T vinegar (I like unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar that I get in bulk at Rainbow)
2 pkgs Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate chunks (2 cups total)
In a large deep skillet arrange the bacon in a single layer if possible, but technically if they overlap or do not all fit don’t worry. Add 1 c dark brown sugar and turn pan to medium heat. Fry bacon until cooked and thickly coated with caramelized sugar. Using a long handled fork, frequently turn over bacon strips and move them about the pan with care. The skillet will soon be filled with a seething mass of sugar and fat, and will slowly become quite dark brown and caramelized. By the time the fat in the bacon has been rendered out adequately and nears the chewy/crisp stage, the sugar will achieve that perfect lacquered mahogany brown hue indicating caramelization. Near the end of the pig candy’s cooking time it is important to turn the strips frequently.
Remove the pig candy from skillet onto a piece of foil or parchment paper and allow to cool. It will harden and crisp as it cools. Immediately pour off the boiling bacon fat and sugar from the cooking pan into a compost friendly container (an old milk cardboard carton is perfect) then fill pan with hot water and return to the stove to melt any remaining sugar for ease of cleaning. I use a Pyrex cup and sometimes nibble on the cooled bacon candy after the fat has cooled. (you can put this hot sugary fatty mass into a cup like this and pour off the fat, keeping the blob of sugar in the cup with a fork or spatula. Then, spread the sugar out on a piece of parchment paper thinly, stretching with your fingers when it is cool enough, for delicious bacon sugar candy. )
When cool, chop into pieces, and try not to eat more than a slice or two.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix together the flours, baking soda and salt, combine well.
In the mixer, cream butter and shortening until light, then slowly add 1 cup of brown sugar and the white sugar and beat well. With mixer on low, add the egg, vanilla and vinegar. Add the flour mixture slowly and mix just until combined. Remove the mixing bowl and, by hand with a silicon spatula, fold in the pig candy and the chocolate chunks. It is best to chill the dough a bit at this point but generally I don’t usually bother.
Drop dough using a tablespoon cookie scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Place into the oven and bake until the cookies are golden, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove and cool cookies on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Now, a note about hot melted sugar. Melted sugar can cause severe burns,which mean common sense and basic precautions must be taken when cooking. Wear shoes that cover your entire foot, long pants and an apron. If you are concerned or a complete klutz, please fill a medium bowl with cold water and a tray of ice cubes. If you get any sugar on you, immediately dip the body part in the ice water and keep it there for at least 10 minutes. I am just careful and, knock on wood, haven’t burned myself on sugar. If you are really worried about it, you can bake the bacon slices in a tray in the oven with brown sugar mounded on top of each slice, which is how every other recipe I have ever seen for sugared bacon recommends. I really prefer my method, obviously, and think that it makes the best Pig Candy.